Wake Ed

Record Wake County funding boost less than school request

Wake County Manager Jim Hartmann has hailed his proposed $34.6 million increase in K-12 funding as “a significant commitment to education,” but it’s also $13.7 million short of what the school board requested.

Hartmann has proposed giving the school system $376 million, a 10.1 percent increase in funding. The $34.6 million increase would be the largest single-year increase in county funding for the school operating budget

In making the school funding recommendation, part of his $1.13 billion proposal, Hartmann said his goal was to restore per-pupil funding to what it was before the recession. His budget would put the local share of Wake’s per-pupil funding at $2,374, compared to $2,255 per child provided in Fiscal Year 2009.

The $2,374 per child is $177 more than provided this fiscal year.

“With this recommended budget, the county per-pupil funding to the school system will not just meet but exceed pre-recession levels,” Hartmann said in his budget message.

School board Chairwoman Christine Kushner declined to say if she felt the $34.6 million increase was enough. She said both boards need to hear from the community as the budget is reviewed.

School supporters have vowed to show up at the June 1 budget public hearings to tell commissioners to back the district’s request for a $48.3 million increase.

Kushner said both boards would continue to maintain open lines of communications as they collaboratively work on meeting the district’s funding needs.

“We’re both committed to working as partners and collaborating together,” Kushner said of both bodies. “We share the same goals of boosting public schools and boosting public school funding.”